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BOLD EAGLE Philly fan is rare bird in the heart of Cowboys country

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Posted: Monday, December 30, 2013 4:30 am

HARKER HEIGHTS — Melvin Green is all alone — and confident.

Minutes before the Dallas Cowboys close out the regular season against the Philadelphia Eagles, the 44-year-old Killeen resident and his midnight green Eagles cap stand out in a Sports City Grill filled with Cowboy jerseys and hats.

What else separates Green from his peers is his not so quiet confidence.

“They beat us 17-3 in the first game,” Green said. “That first game they played us in Philly and won. So, we’re (about to) return the favor plus go to the playoffs.

“I owe them that,” he said motioning to the friends and family who accompanied him.

Green is so confident that his Eagles will avenge an Oct. 20 loss to Dallas in Philadelphia that he has no qualms about being the lone Eagles fan in the small Harker Heights bar.

Besides, he’s used to it.

“I grew up around Cowboy fans,” Green said, “I’ve been an Eagle fan since I was 9 years old.”

Sadly, Cowboy fans are used to the position they found themselves in Sunday, needing a win in the regular-season finale to reach the playoffs.

After being eliminated in the final week of the regular season by Washington last year, Cowboy fans at Sports City Grill were considerably more cautious than Green in analyzing the game.

“Tonight is going to be a test,” bartender Mike Flores said. “It’s going to be a test to see if we can do it without (starting quarterback Tony) Romo. 

“This is how history happens — any given Sunday.”

Flores, 23, lives in Killeen and has been bartending at Sports City Grill for just over a year, he said.

As customers,walk in, he greets them by name, noting that many of the regular die-hards aren’t even here.

They’re at the game instead.

But that doesn’t take away from the homey feel of the bar as Flores said most of the clientele are regulars.

Manuel Elizondo of Killeen considers himself a regular and on this night has brought his wife, Betina, and their son, Dylan, to join him.

Manuel is a die-hard, sporting a DeMarco Murray jersey and a custom Cowboys ring he had created at the store he owns, Texas Jewelry Center.

But on this night, he leans on Dylan to prepare him for what to expect as he’s never seen backup quarterback Kyle Orton, who will start in place of Romo, sidelined by back surgery.

“Orton might (get it done),” Dylan said, “you never know.”

And while fans like Manuel and Dylan braced themselves for a potentially season-ending game Sunday, they took solace in the fact that, unlike Green, they were surrounded by fans to celebrate or commiserate with no matter the outcome.

“(Betina) wanted to go watch the game somewhere,” Manuel said.

“I said, ‘What better place to go than to be around friends and other Cowboy fans because most of the people that come in here are Cowboy fans.’”

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